Saturday, May 29, 2010

Royal Society 'to re-examine climate message'

Britain's national academy of science is to review its messages on climate change after complaints from its Fellows that the publicised views were oversimplified, according to reports

The Royal Society is to create a panel to put together a consensus statement after the assertion by 43 Fellows that its messages failed to draw a line between fact and conjecture, the BBC claimed.

The panel, chaired by John Pethica, vice-president of the Society, will publish the document in September after reviews by two subgroups, who are said to have questions about the popular view of the threat posed by increasing quantities of C02 in the atmosphere.

A panel member told BBC News: "The timetable is very tough – one draft has already been rejected as completely inadequate. "This is a very serious challenge to the way the society operates. In the past we have been able to give advice to governments as a society without having to seek consensus of all the members."

The member reportedly said it may not even be possible for the panel to agree upon a consensus view and added they thought some of the society's public messages had been badly thought out.

Criticism is principally centred on Climate Change Controversies, a document which defends mainstream science from accusations thought by the Society to be improper. It says: "This is not intended to provide exhaustive answers to every contentious argument that has been put forward by those who seek to distort and undermine the science of climate change ..."

One Fellow reportedly said: "This appears to suggest that anyone who questions climate science is malicious. But in science everything is there to be questioned – that should be the very essence of the Royal Society. Some of us were very upset about that."

A spokesman from the Royal Society declined to respond, saying: "We will be issuing a release about this later on. It will be based on fact rather than speculation." [Now THAT'S a departure!]


Uncertain Science

Even Newsweak is executing a slow turn. The heading above is theirs and their subheading is: "Bickering and defensive, climate researchers have lost the public’s trust"

Blame economic worries, another freezing winter, or the cascade of scandals emerging from the world’s leading climate-research body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But concern over global warming has cooled down dramatically. In über-green Germany, only 42 percent of citizens worry about global warming now, down from 62 percent in 2006. In Britain, just 26 percent believe climate change is man-made, down from 41 percent as recently as November 2009. And Americans rank global warming dead last in a list of 21 problems that concern them, according to a January Pew poll.

The shift has left many once celebrated climate researchers feeling like the used-car salesmen of the science world. In Britain, one leading scientist told an interviewer he is taking anti-anxiety pills and considered suicide following the leak of thousands of IPCC-related e-mails and documents suggesting that researchers cherry-picked data and suppressed rival studies to play up global warming. In the U.S., another researcher is under investigation for allegedly using exaggerated climate data to obtain public funds. In an open letter published in the May issue of Science magazine, 255 American climate researchers decry “political assaults” on their work by “deniers” and followers of “dogma” and “special interests.”

This is no dispute between objective scientists and crazed flat-earthers. The lines cut through the profession itself. Very few scientists dispute a link between man-made CO2 and global warming. Where it gets fuzzy is the extent and time frame of the effect. One crucial point of contention is climate “sensitivity”—the mathematical formula that translates changes in CO2 production to changes in temperature. In addition, scientists are not sure how to explain a slowdown in the rise of global temperatures that began about a decade ago.

The backlash against climate science is also about the way in which leading scientists allied themselves with politicians and activists to promote their cause. Some of the IPCC’s most-quoted data and recommendations were taken straight out of unchecked activist brochures, newspaper articles, and corporate reports—including claims of plummeting crop yields in Africa and the rising costs of warming-related natural disasters, both of which have been refuted by academic studies.

Just as damaging, many climate scientists have responded to critiques by questioning the integrity of their critics, rather than by supplying data and reasoned arguments. When other researchers aired doubt about the IPCC’s prediction that Himalayan glaciers will melt by 2035, the IPCC’s powerful chief, Rajendra Pachauri, trashed their work as “voodoo science.” Even today, after dozens of IPCC exaggerations have surfaced, leading climate officials like U.N. Environment Program chief Achim Steiner and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research head Joachim Schellnhuber continue to tar-brush critics as “anti-Enlightenment” and engaging in “witch hunts.”

None of this means we should burn fossil fuels with abandon. There are excellent reasons to limit emissions and switch to cleaner fuels—including an estimated 750,000 annual pollution deaths in China, the potential to create jobs at home instead of enriching nasty regimes sitting on oil wells, the need to provide cheap sources of power to the world’s poorest regions, and the still-probable threat that global warming is underway. At the moment, however, certainty about how fast—and how much—global warming changes the earth’s climate does not appear to be one of those reasons.


Where has the Magic Gone?

James Taranto

This lead paragraph from the New York Times is just priceless:
Last month hundreds of environmental activists crammed into an auditorium here to ponder an anguished question: If the scientific consensus on climate change has not changed, why have so many people turned away from the idea that human activity is warming the planet?

Imagine popular children's fables retold by Times reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal: Anguished weavers gathered to ponder the sudden shift in fashion by subjects who only recently thought the emperor was wearing a splendid suit of clothes. If the boy still says there is a wolf, why have so many farmers turned away from the idea that the sheep are in danger?

Rosenthal reports from London, because the "shift in public opinion" has been especially "striking" in Britain, where "climate change" was once a "popular priority":
But since then, the country has evolved into a home base for a thriving group of climate skeptics who have dominated news reports in recent months, apparently convincing many that the threat of warming is vastly exaggerated.

The Times story could be titled "What's the Matter With Many?" Not only do opinion polls in Britain and elsewhere show a significant drop in public credulity about climate alarmism, but newly elected Prime Minister David Cameron "was 'strangely muted' on the issue in a recent pre-election debate, as The Daily Telegraph put it, though it had previously been one of his passions." And then there's this:
London's Science Museum recently announced that a permanent exhibit scheduled to open later this year would be called the Climate Science Gallery--not the Climate Change Gallery as had previously been planned.

That last bit is just an example of the euphemism treadmill at work. We're old enough to remember the "greenhouse effect," which became "global warming," which became "climate change," which now apparently has become "climate science." Just as "retarded" was a clinical term until it developed connotations of mockery and insult, so each term for greenhouseeffectglobalwarmingclimatechangeclimatescience comes to connote dishonest alarmism--because that is what GEGWCCCS is all about.

Savor the plaintive condescension of this passage:
Here in Britain, the change has been driven by the news media's intensive coverage of a series of climate science controversies unearthed and highlighted by skeptics since November. These include the unauthorized release of e-mail messages from prominent British climate scientists at the University of East Anglia that skeptics cited as evidence that researchers were overstating the evidence for global warming and the discovery of errors in a United Nations climate report.

Two independent reviews later found no evidence that the East Anglia researchers had actively distorted climate data, but heavy press coverage had already left an impression that the scientists had schemed to repress data. Then there was the unusually cold winter in Northern Europe and the United States, which may have reinforced a perception that the Earth was not warming.

Skepticism, the Times implies, is a sign that people are foolish and easily misled. But the opposite interpretation is closer to the truth: Those who refuse to accept outlandish claims based merely on an appeal to authority are exercising intelligence and common sense.

Walter Russell Mead, blogging for The American Interest, notes in addition that most of the information in the Times story is old news. The lead, after all, concerns a conference held last month, even though it was almost next month by the time the Times published its report. Mead continues:
It turns out, however, that by Times standards a report on a conference from last month is a late breaking newsflash. The main evidence that ace reporter Elizabeth [sic] Rosenthal has tracked down for her story about changing public sentiment comes from a BBC opinion poll from February.

The last I looked, we were approaching the end of May. This is deliberative journalism at its best: only ninety swift days between a BBC poll and the time that the New York Times thinks you are ready to hear about it.

Mead notes that Rosenthal also cites a German poll from March and a survey of Conservative British political candidates from January. With just a touch of sarcasm, he adds: "Give thanks that you live in the information age, when the news of the day, properly vetted and screened by layers of professional news editors, will be delivered to you as soon as it's safely matured. . . . Stories this big and this rich need to be properly aged."

Oh well, it could be worse. The Associated Press bureau in Katmandu is even further behind the news than the Times is, as evidenced by this dispatch:
A Nepalese Sherpa who climbed Mount Everest for a record 20th time said Tuesday that the melting of glacier ice along its slopes due to global warming is making it increasingly difficult to climb the peak.

Right. Because climbing the world's highest mountain is supposed to get easier as you get older!


Why I keep banging on and on about Global bloody Warming

By James Delingpole

“Can’t you find something else to talk about?” someone (a nice, sympathetic person, not one of my house herd of festering libtard trolls) commented below one of my previous blogs.

So let me explain, briefly, why I rarely can – with reference to the ludicrous story which was given the front page of today’s Times (formerly a newspaper of some note).

The story, enthusiastically headlined EU SETS TOUGHEST TARGETS TO FIGHT GLOBAL WARMING goes like this:
Europe will introduce a surprise new plan today to combat global warming, committing Britain and the rest of the EU to the most ambitious targets in the world. The plan proposes a massive increase in the target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in this decade.

The European Commission is determined to press ahead with the cuts despite the financial turmoil gripping the bloc, even though it would require Britain and other EU member states to impose far tougher financial penalties on their industries than are being considered by other large economies.

The plan, to cut emissions by 30 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020, would cost the EU an extra £33 billion a year by 2020, according to a draft of the Commission’s communication leaked to The Times.

The existing target of a 20 per cent cut is already due to cost £48 billion. The Commission will argue that the lower target has become much easier to meet because of the recession, which resulted in the EU’s emissions falling more than 10 per cent last year as thousands of factories closed or cut production. Emissions last year were already 14 per cent below 1990 levels.

Can you see what’s wrong with this story? Clearly the Environment Correspondent author couldn’t, nor his news editors. If they had they would have reported it in an entirely different way – not, as a largely sensible proposal to deal with a real and serious problem which might nonetheless likely to run into various local difficulties. But as one of the most scandalous outbreaks of hysteria, credulousness and stupidity in the entire history of the human race.

Here’s the problem: the global economy has gone tits up. We are doomed. And nowhere is more doomed than Europe whose Monopoly-money currency is going the way of the Zimbabwe dollar and the Reichsmark, and whose constituent economies are so overburdened by sclerotic regulation and so mired in corruption, waste and the kind of institutionalised socialism which might work just about when the going’s good but definitely not now sir now sirree.

And what, pray, is the European Union’s solution to this REAL problem which has already led to riots and death in one country and which could well lead to many more in the horror years to come? Why, to impose on its already hamstrung, over-regulated, over-taxed businesses yet further arbitrary CO2 emissions reductions targets, which will make not the blindest difference to the health of the planet, but which will most certainly slow down economic recovery and make life harder and more miserable for everybody.

In Britain, David Cameron is wedded to the same suicidal policy – on the one hand brandishing £6.5 billion cuts in government spending as though this were a sign of his maturity and his commitment to reducing Britain’s deficit, while on the other remaining committed to a “low carbon” economy set to destroy what’s left of our industry and cost the taxpayer at least £18 billion (yep – almost THREE times as much as the pathetic cuts announced so far by his pathetic chancellor) a year.

Around the world, in the greatest financial crisis we have faced since the 1930s, our leaders are behaving like imbeciles. And nowhere is this imbecility more painfully manifest than in their approach to the non-existent problem they now call Climate Change.

That’s why I keep banging on about Climate Change. It is, unfortunately, the Key to all Mythologies.


Global Warming Brought to Book

I have just checked on Amazon UK: out of the top five most popular books about ‘global warming’, no fewer than four are by sceptical authors.

And, it is surely about to get even more interesting as four new, highly-critical works hit the virtual and bookshop ‘shelves’ this May:

First, there is a new masterpiece from Matt Ridley, one of our finest exponents of popular science writing, a volume which I predict will become a blockbuster [although embargoed until May 27, it is already 164th in Amazon UK’s best-seller list]: The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves(Fourth Estate: ISBN-10: 0007267118; ISBN-13: 978-0007267118). This will be released tomorrow, and it will be available both online and from all good bookshops, such as Waterstones.

Here is Dominic Lawson’s review for you to savour: “Ridley’s deft demolition of the scaremongering of the organic movement is merely part of a book breathtaking in its sweep and scope. His furious onslaught on the renewable-energy scams, the grotesquely subsidised governmental response to the great global-warming scare, is even more telling.” And here is the official web site for The Rational Optimist. It is a devastating critique of our dystopian Age.

Then, today at lunchtime, Stacey International releases two highly-significant books on the science and the economics of ‘global warming’ in its ‘Independent Minds’ Series.

These are Climate: the Great Delusion by Christian Gerondeau (translated from the French original: ISBN-10: 1906768412; ISBN-13: 9781906768416) and Climate: the Counter Consensus by Professor Robert Carter (ISBN-10: 1906768293; ISBN-13: 9781906768294). Gerondeau’s book has already sold thousands of copies in France, under the title, CO2 Un Mythe Planétaire. He demonstrates sharply the absurdity of the climate measures to which the G8 countries are currently committed. He further observes that these complex and formidably expensive efforts will be nullified by the actions of China and India, where such restrictions are economically and politically unfeasible; will have no discernible effect on the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and climate change; make no sense in the light of the impending exhaustion of hydro-carbon sources within the coming century; and, will come to be viewed as a scarcely-credible response to a global delusion amid harmless shifts in climate. The book is endorsed by two heavy-weight former politicians, Nigel Lawson and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.

Meanwhile, Carter takes a scalpel to the so-called facts of ‘global warming’ that are churned out and unquestioningly accepted, while the scientific and media establishments stifle or deride any legitimate expression of an opposing viewpoint. In doing so, Carter’s book typifies the mission of the ‘Independent Minds’ Series, namely to replace political correctness and received wisdom with common sense and more rational analysis. Both of these books are recommended, and they are available directly from Stacey International and elsewhere.

Finally, there is Melanie Phillip’s challenging, and unquestionably brave, new book, The World Turned Upside Down: the Global Battle over God, Truth and Power, which was released in the UK on May 6 (Encounter Books: ISBN-10: 1594033757; ISBN-13: 978-1594033759). In this mighty essay, Melanie launches a searing attack on how the West has willfully abandoned all sense of reason: “The loss of religious belief has meant the West has replaced reason and truth with ideology and prejudice, which it enforces in the manner of a secular inquisition. The result has been a kind of mass derangement, as truth and lies, right and wrong, victim and aggressor are all turned upside down. In medieval-style witch-hunts, scientists who are skeptical of global warming are hounded from their posts; Israel is ferociously demonized; and the United States is vilified over the war on terror - all on the basis of falsehoods and propaganda that are believed as truth.”

The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, has written of the book: “With ferocious courage, Melanie Phillips challenges a series of myths and irrationalities that have achieved canonical status in the contemporary world. If civilization depends on the ability to give dissenting voices a hearing, then The World Turned Upside Downmay well be one of the most important tests of Western civilization in our time.”

Richard S. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, MIT, comments: "One is disturbed each day by verifiably untrue statements touted as incontrovertible facts about hot-button issues. With cold, perceptive, exhaustive and persistent passion, Melanie Phillips dissects the phenomenon among disparate movements, to reach disturbing but compelling conclusions about the erosion of modern liberal society by ideologies whose surprising interconnections are meticulously identified. One can only hope that her book will penetrate the information cocoon into which many of our intelligentsia have sealed themselves."

I believe the intellectual pendulum is at last starting to swing. It is time that some of our more right-on media and UK politicians [witness the fatuous ‘exclusive’ on The Times front page today - why did The Times waste its front page on this non-story?] woke up to the fact that ‘global warming’ is increasingly an intellectually-discredited, postmodernist trope, but worse, a dangerous economic irrelevancy. Indeed, irrational political belief in ‘global warming’ may be yet another threat to the survival of the UK and the EU as significant economic world powers.

Well, there is your summer beach reading, as author after author brings ‘global warming’ to book. Enjoy them all with your Pimm’s - though even these may not last out an Andy Murray five-setter. “Cheers, indeed!”


Yet another book that dismisses man-made warming

It's called "Global Warming: Geophysical Counterpoints to the Enhanced Greenhouse Theory" and is by John M. Quinn. The following is from the publisher:

"Global Warming" explains why CO2 and other greenhouse gases, either of natural or of anthropogenic origin, cannot be the cause, let alone the primary cause, of global warming. Evidence indicates that global warming is closely related to a wide range of solar-terrestrial phenomenon, from the sun’s magnetic storms and fluctuating solar wind all the way to the Earth’s core motions. Changes in the Solar and Earth magnetic fields, changes in the Earth’s orientation and rotation rate, as well as the gravitational effects associated with the relative barri-center motions of the Earth, Sun, Moon, and other planets, all play key roles. Clear one-to-one correspondence exists among these parameters and the Global Temperature Anomaly on three separate time scales.

This book sheds new light on a fascinating subject. It is intended to be read by scientists and non-scientists alike, including interested politicians, teachers, and students. Taking the view that a picture is worth a thousand words, there are many graphics to assist the reader. Non-scientists as well as uncommitted scientists should come away with an understanding of why, despite claims to the contrary by some environments and political interlopers, there is still honest scientific debate as to the cause of global warming.
About the Author

A physicist and geophysicist from Lakewood, Colorado, John M. Quinn has a B.S. in physics from the University of Virginia and a M.S. from the University of Colorado. John’s 40-year career includes 32 years with the Federal Government. He has also served on a variety of national and international committees. He enjoys gardening raising tropical fish, classic fifties rock-‘n-roll, spy thrillers, and action movies. Mr. Quinn has also published several technical reports and articles in scientific journals and has given numerous lectures and presentations to scientific and other groups around the world.



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